The Chinese Social Media Bandwagon

The Chinese Social Media Bandwagon

Here is a snapshot of my family on Chinese New Year's Eve: we are all sitting in front of the TV watching the annual New Year gala concert performances on China Central Television. My dad is busy posting updates and 'following' others on Sina Weibo through his iPhone, while my mom is "planting and stealing vegetables" on her QQ farm. As for me, I finally get around to updating my long-neglected Renrenwhile also uploading my Christmas travel photos.

Allow me to translate, for the uninitiated, what this all means: Sina Weibo (Microblog) is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter; QQ is a combination of MSN Messenger and “FarmVille,” with browser-based online games; and Renren (‘Everyone’) is China’s Facebook, with more than 160 million registered users.

In the world’s largest Internet market, social media has developed tremendously over the last few years. A fair share of global social media companies have tried to penetrate the Chinese market, but intense competition and Internet restrictions have posed a hurdles they have yet to cross. To successfully enter this market, a localized, tailor-made social media strategy has to be developed.

In the Chinese B2B scene, industry webportals have mushroomed over the last few years, effectively creating an integrated and comprehensive portal that includes direct B2B commerce, news and trends update, industry directories and company information. This general explosion of information is usually packed haphazardly onto Chinese websites. Although useful, the sheer amount of information can oftentimes be intimidating and overwhelming for people who are not accustomed it.

The usefulness of industry portals lies partially on the forums they host: forums allow like-minded people to get together and engage in discussions of varying topics. These portals are not only a main source of information for companies, but they also help facilitate communication between companies both within and across industries.

For people or companies who are trying to jump on the social media bandwagon, it is important to first identify the main purpose of utilizing these platforms. The second key to success lies in having a firm understanding of the social media environment and habits (on both personal and corporate levels). This will help companies map out more effective strategies for the utilization of various social media tools as key platforms.

Juliet Zhu is the Asia Pacific Manager at ABI marketing public relations. You can reach her at +65 6296 4384 and

by Juliet Zhu